From David Tattersall:-|
"My grandfather V. A "Roger" Giles always said, rather disdainfully, that my great aunt Laura first met her future husband Mr Ambrose on the seafront at either Brighton or Bournemouth, the popular English southcoast resorts (the suggestion being that it was a pretty casual meeting, what we might today call a pick-up!!!).
I suspect that he said this as something of a contrast to the fact that she clearly married into money and lived what must have been a very comfortable lifestyle. Little did Laura know that she would be marrying a man who was by all accounts a wealthy man in the shipping business. However my great aunt Laura was a lady with a powerful aura of confidence, self-assurance and perfume! I was very fond of her indeed, even though we met only occasionally.
As children my sister and I used to go and see her at her beautifully-appointed London flat in Earles Court (when it was a very fashionable area). The Hotel Vanderbilt Cromwell Road, London. I remember we always had to hide her very expensive fur coats under the cushions of her sofas and armchairs in case thieves broke in. She always made quite a game of this!
She had always worked out something new to do when we visited her - full of surprises for us - a secret trip somewhere, and a great gift for keeping children amused during a visit.
She was a stylish, robust character - insisting on good manners and politeness and everything being very correct and orderly. A strong personality with a proper, yet somehow wicked, sense of fun that was infectious for us kids, and in complete contrast to her sister (our grandmother) Harrie who was much, much quieter.
Geoffrey (Ambrose) continued the family shipping interests and was either chairman/managing director of a shipping company called Tor Line (I think correct spelling) which I think has long since ceased to exist as a separate company. Geoffrey had, I think, two children, Richard and Penelope. Penel got in touch with me last year re family history by phone and I filled in a few gaps in her knowledge and she said she would send me details of her address, phone etc, but only sent me, obviously by mistake, just a notelet ....without any phone number, address, or anything. And I don't know her married name !!!!
But the good news is that I have found what I hope is Penelope (called Penel) Ambrose's phone number on a scrap of paper which Julia must have left me originally when Penel called out of the blue (I rarely throw things away thank goodness !) I've left a message on Penel's phone asking her to call me."
Penel Ambrose Hill writes:-
"When I was little I stayed with Gran (Laura) quite a lot, and she would sit on my bed and tell me stories about her life as a child and about her married life.
I kept letters that Gran wrote to me when I was at school - she was a tremendous character and very brave, she had cancer of the colon when I was born but lived until she was 83 with a double colostomy! It seems funny though that she always insisted her name was Katharina not Katherine! Dad always called her Kate and really adored her.
Gran became a student teacher and this is where her involvement with Catholicism occurred. She was very tempted to change but never did. She also told me that she was fascinated by the Jewish religion.
In looking through the "Black Box" there are numerous religious poems and writings and although not in any formal sense, religion played an important part in her life. I think through her teaching she came into contact with many different people and she loved hearing about their lives, something that never left her. She once told me that as she got older she grew tired of fiction but reading about people's lives fascinated her. She said that when you got older you only regretted the things you didn't do and that one of her regrets was that she had never written a book!
She thought her life would have been of great interest to others and as I am struggling to remember everything she told me I really wish she had! At this time she once taught some Gypsy children and had to send them home because they had nits. The children's hair was shaved and they were then sent straight back to school. She was horrified but apparently pretended not to notice -she thought that it would have been bad manners!
I don't know where Gran's flare came from really except that she told me that she was all English except for her little finger which was French and she put down her love of fine things to that. One of her ancestors was a French Privateer which when she was small she found very romantic. However it turns out that a Privateer is really a tax collector on water! There was at one time a sword belonging to this gentleman but unfortunately it has either been lost or was perhaps only a rumour!
The story of how Gran met Ivor is one that I did not hear from her! Apparently they met on the front at Brighton - almost a genteel pick up. The following Christmas Gran received presents from her three gentleman admirers but her father told her that she must accept only one and that she did. Luckily for Richard and I it was the one from Ivor! Ivor proposed to her in a park in London, I don't remember which one, and Gran accepted.
Harrie meanwhile became engaged to Roger. I don't think Gran and Roger ever got along very well, though he did of course have beautiful copperplate writing! I have an idea that Gran told me that she and Harrie had a double wedding which I believe was not what Gran had in mind! In any case Gran and Ivor were married on September 5th 1914. However Harrie and Gran remained close all their lives as did Joyce and Dad and Gran always maintained that she owed her life to Joyce as it was her who insisted Gran go to the doctor when she had cancer.
Ivor was a shipping clerk from Cardiff who lived in probably one of the first Women's Lib households in the country. His father had died when he was very young and the women ruled the house. All the girls had their own bedrooms while the boys shared the attic! They had as a family run an Ironmongers which Dad remembers visiting and loved watching the change slide down the chute to the counter. Dad lived in Cardiff until he was 2. I remember him saying that he watched them putting his favourite toy. I think it was a wooden horse-on the train when they moved.
Ivor seems to have been a lovely man, mild mannered and as calm as Gran was volatile.
Dad told me that Ivor once told Gran that she was a lovely woman but there were times when she had a tongue like a viper! Ivor had one sister called Gwen who was a teacher and whom Gran liked very much but there was one brother who Gran was not so keen on and had to be put firmly in his place by her (not by Ivor he was too soft!) for always borrowing money from them.
There was also a very sad story about one member of his family who was very religious and was taken to Wind Street by sailors who got him drunk and then to a house of ill repute. Apparently he could not live with the guilt and ended his own life!
Other members of the family were also in shipping and one of them got into a bit of bother about the arsenic content in the coal they were carrying! Another member of his family ran a small hotel - Arthur Ambrose.
Ivor was involved in the shipping business for many years and in 1927 formed Ambrose, Davies and Matthews to carry on general shipbroking and management of The Tor Investment Trust and Brynmor Steam Ship Company Limited. He was also a president of the Swansea Chamber of Commerce and a member of other associations in including the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and The Swansea Pilotage Board.
Gran though so very practical and strong minded with huge courage and an iron will was also a romantic with a strong sense of poetry. She had a book of writings called the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam which she and Ivor loved and this was their favourite.
"Here with a Loaf of Bread
Beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse-and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness
-And Wilderness is Paradise Enow."
At Gran's all was well ordered and she was always there to listen and we both loved her very much. Ivor had one sister called Gwen who was a teacher
While all this was going on Dad (Geoffrey) and Dick were growing up. Dad was born in 1916 and Dick about 3 years later. Dad had a very happy family life and as you know he was always very protective of Dick even to the point that when Dick first went to Ellesmere (School), he was sick in the night and went about finding Dad to clear it up rather than the matron!
I often wonder what Dick was really like, apart from the fact that everyone said Richard (Penel's brother) looked like him. So many stories of his wild ways and good looks. Gran told me that when he was studying metallurgy at Swansea, he was very much the dare-devil and risk taker.
When war came Dick of course joined the RAF and dad the army. Gran said that as she got on a tube train in London with a friend she nearly lost her balance. Her friend asked what was the matter and she said she would lose Ivor and Richard in the war and was not sure about Geoffrey. Richard died on September 4th 1940 (the day before Gran's wedding anniversary.) Having survived The Battle of Britain he lost his life moving an aeroplane and Ivor died in 1942.
Richard Ambrose was killed in World War Two on 4th September 1940 aged 21. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 20th Jun 1939. He was called-up for full-time service soon after the outbreak of war and commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the RAF on 21 Oct 1939. His service no. was 73040. He was posted to 25 Squadronat RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, on 18 Aug 1940, but moved to RAF Stapleford, Essex, on 26 Aug to join 151 Squadron. 151 was nominally transferred to RAF Digby, Yorks, on 29 Aug, which is the reason for the ferry flight on 4 Sep, Hurricane V7406 being on charge to 151.
Hawker Hurricane Mk I V7406 was being ferried from RAF Stapleford, in Essex, to its base at RAF Digby, then home of 151 Squadron number. The crane was probably one of the standard type used by the RAF (for lifting engines out of mountings, etc) and known as a 'Coles Crane' by virtue of its designer/manufacturer's name prominently incorporated into the basecasting. Some were mounted on wheels and towed around, others on the back of specially adapted lorries.
From Battle of Britain Website at http://www.battleofbritain.net/section-5/page-36.html
Unknown time: RAF Digby. Hurricane V7406. 151 Squadron Digby
P/O R. Ambrose killed. Crashed into a crane during take off on ferryflight. A/C (aircraft) burnt out."
From The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Web Site.
In Memory of
151 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on Wednesday, 4th September 1940. Age 21.
Additional Information: Son of Ivor A. Ambrose and Laura K. Ambrose, of Esher, Surrey.
Cemetery: EPPING CEMETERY, Essex, United Kingdom
Grave Reference/Panel Number: Sec. Z. Grave 3.
The death notice reads:-
"On Active Service.
AMBROSE - Killed flying in September 1940. Pilot Officer Richard AMBROSE. RAFVR. Dearly loved youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. I A. Ambrose. 37 Hillcrest-gardens, Hinchley Wood Esher.
(After Ivor's death) Dad came back to Britain to run the business. He was always very hurt that he lost a 'pip' in order to do this and even more so from the story he told me how when he got to London, the only canteen open on the station was the one run by The Salvation Army. They refused him a cup of tea because he was an officer and I don't think he ever forgave them.
Gran though could not have done better than have Dad (Geoffrey) to look after her because he adored her. Though Dad always wanted to go into shipping he gave in to his father's wish that he qualify as a solicitor first. That done, Dad in return got his wish and joined the firm. He told me that he very early learnt a lesson that he followed for the rest of his life. He was given the job of doing the deal on a cargo and was told my Mr. Matthews I believe the price to accept.
Dad arrived the next day feeling very pleased with himself because he had got a better price but was shouted down because he had risked losing the job! He was told the phrase that he used when selling shares - Leave the other bob for the other chap! I think it meant take a little less and you won't risk losing the lot!
When Gran was living in London, she had an admirer who was a conductor with an orchestra. Apparently he asked her to marry him but was refused. She told me that it was probably a good thing to marry again because if you had not enjoyed it the first time, you would not risk it again!
However she did not feel it was for her. In looking through the papers I found the middle part of what amounts to a love letter and from the contents I presume it was from him! Although she loved London, she was very upset by a burglary, she lost alot of sentimental jewellery, including a brooch of RAF wings from Dick.She resigned herself to living in Wales though she called her house Ellsfolly because she thought it was Laura's stupidity to live there!
I wish I had more photos of Gran later in life. She remained pretty with silver hair and bright blue eyes. Because she had a very large hernia and with all her problems after her cancer she gave up going out after her 70th birthday. However, she used to buy velvet housecoats and matching slippers from Harrods and always looked wonderful. The house was always spotless as was she and she loved 4711 Cologne.
When the boys were growing up they had a nanny called Bowen and up until she died she had a housekeeper. She was such a lady! She never served jam from the pot, always from a cut glass jar with a big silver spoon and milk always from a jug - never the bottle, I wonder what she would have thought of cartons!
Gran was the one who used to make my outfits for plays etc and taught me to sew, though I did not take to it as well as she! She also taught me to cook on her Aga and before we came to the pub we had one in her house, I really miss it!
When Richard and I were young she had a labrador called Major and as nobby cat called Minnie Mo whom she knighted because he was so snooty and he then became Sir Minnie Mo! Most of our furniture is from Gran as we shared a love of antiques .She would go around the markets and pick up pieces of furniture which she would then tailor to suit her purpose for it!
She thought that she could tell silver from silver plate just by touching it. She loved beautiful things and everything about her was pretty from her dressing table to her garden.
Gran died in May 1976 just before Rob and I got married - I was really sad she did not see us tie the knot as she was very fond of Rob. She had a fall some months earlier and really went down hill from there. She died at home in Swansea in her own bed and Dad said that although she died during the night, when he was with her earlier, she said she would see him in the morning - and he thought that was a nice way of saying goodbye. On my wedding day Dad and I arranged for the same flowers in my bouquet to be sent to Gran's grave - I think she would have liked it. "
"The relationship between Harrie and Gran was as far as I remember a bit of a love-hate one. I know that Roger and Gran did not get on, but Gran was very fond of Harrie but used to get frustrated with her at times. I think Harrie was a softer, more gentle person, but perhaps not the tough character that Gran was. Gran had a real fun side to her, but she had incredible strength too. When I was very little I was a bitscared of her, because she demanded good behaviour, but as I grew up we became very close and she and I became devoted to each other. It is difficult to explain without filling you in about Mum.
Richard was talking the other day about Gran pushing us round the garden in her shopping basket. It was wicker and on wheels with a long handle!"
|She died in her bed at home|
|She was aged 84. Address: 18 Caswell Avenue. Minister: R. Evans|
|Her ashes are buried in the grave.|